chocolate yorkshire terriers

    Thankfully there has been a growing trend away from ear cropping and tail docking and in fact it has been banned by the Kennel Club in the UK, though sadly cropping and docking is still the norm for many breeds because it is considered the traditional appearance. Our Yorkshire Terriers remain fully intact. The truth is that they have gorgeous tails, and having a couple more toenails to trim is really no big deal. Please find a letter from our veterinarian (also my dad) on this topic below:



    In 1971 I worked in a busy veterinary hospital that had many clients who were breeders. Tail docking, dewclaw removal and ear cropping were routine. After witnessing my first ear cropping and seeing the subsequent pain, discomfort and prolonged healing time I elected not to crop ears. I have operated on and amputated some pets' ears because of trauma, cancer or frost bite, but never for cosmetic reasons. A frequent argument in favour of ear cropping is to prevent future problems such as infection or trauma. Dogs with normal ears have no greater number of infections, and very few suffer trauma because the ears are too long. I have, however, more frequently been in the position of having to treat dogs for infections, surgical breakdown and prolonged recovery due to ear cropping.

     Over the last several years I have queried the need for tail docking and dewclaw removal. I have performed thousands of these minor surgical procedures on two and three day old puppies without mishap. It seemed to be quick and relatively painless. One purpose for performing dewclaw removal has been to prevent excessive nail growth on the retained dewclaw. In my opinion, owners are aware of these nails and include them in routine trimming.It is true that when running through the bush the digital artery can be severed with subsequent bleeding. This however, is also true for the remaining sixteen other digits. Pad lacerations, interdigital trauma, tumours, foreign bodies and other lesions occur frequently, but are usually easily treated. Groomers find it easier to clip the feet of dogs without dewclaws, but a good groomer easily handles retained dewclaws. Tail docking is unquestionably a cosmetic procedure. Prophylactic removal to prevent future trauma is ridiculous. I do admit that the sting of wagging Great Dane can be painful, and that the sweeping of drinks and food from the coffee table can be annoying, but to cut off the offending tail? Would it not be heartwarming to appreciate the beauty of our dogs with their natural long soft ears, retained thumbs and joyful wagging tails?


By: L. Hurd DVM